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Abstract

This paper applies the concept of cultural hegemony to analyze the behavior of the two unfortunate couples from the Sierra Morena episode, Don Fernando and Dorothea, and Cardenio and Luscinda. The concept of cultural hegemony originated from the theorist Antonio Gramsci, in his book The Prison Notebooks and is defined as the way in which the social structures of religion, family, and matrimonial law reaffirm the hierarchy between social classes. The two couples conform to the societal expectations for their social standing, which serves as a critique of the power that the upper class has over society. The paper investigates the character of Dorothea as the most powerful character of the scene because her consciousness of the ideology aids her to defend herself and obtain her desires. Dorothea, as the representative of the new social class, the rich farm workers, is able to offer a subtle critique of the monopolize power the nobility holds over society. As part of the new social class, she is outside of the society of the 16th century and is able to suggest the diminishing power of the nobility. Cardenio and Luscinda are complicit in the social system because they allow Don Fernando, of the high nobility, to do as he pleases. The literary analysis focuses on the specific language of each character to show how cultural hegemony influences the thoughts and behaviors of the literary figures.

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